Centre for Biofouling Control

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
What the facility does

Development of materials that inhibit biofouling and their study.

Areas of expertise

Biofouling is the undesirable accumulation of microorganisms, plants, and animals on wetted surfaces. It is a complex and recurring problem for marine and biomedical industries leading to huge maintenance costs. Severe invasion of aquaculture cage nets by biofouling species reduces dissolved oxygen available to fish, leading to infectious diseases and parasites which impede fish growth. Biofouling on ship hulls leads to the transport of invasive species and the excess consumption of fuel. In biomedical devices biofouling leads to failure, for example in biodiagnostic platforms, implants, and in catheters. Biofouling of such devices is a leading cause of death during hospital stays.
Understanding biofouling and addressing it is a hugely complex scientific problem. We utilize and collaborate with researchers across Canada and internationally, using a unique set of tools to characterize biofouling. The Centre houses the following excellent instrumentation: Optical Microscopes, Particle Tracking System, Quartz Crystal Microbalance, UV-Vis Spectrometer, Nanoscale IR Imaging System, Atomic Force Microscope System, Raman Imaging Spectrometer, Cell Culture Station, and Synthetic Station.

Research services

We can provide materials testing and surface analytical services.

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Clean technology
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment

Name of specialized lab

Name of equipment in use

Description of function

Centre for Biofouling Control

Bruker Inspire™ Nanochemical Mapping System, integrated with Daylight quantum cascade lasers

Instrument for nanoscale infrared spectroscopy of surfaces.


Nikon Eclipse Ti-S Microscope System

Fluorescence, Raman and dark field microscopy with 632nm and 800nm lasers


Q-Sense E1 quartz crystal microbalance system

Instrument to analyze deposition of material onto surfaces from aqueous solutions, such as cells or polymer, to analyze deposited mass as well as material damping


Quorum Technologies Light CT Microscopy Imaging System

A scanner for pathology or soft matter samples utilizing Optical Coherence Tomography, for non-destructive imaging of unstained and unfixed samples.


Asylum Research MFP-3D atomic force microscope

For imaging the nanoscale mechanical properties of surfaces